Jan. 11, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Four Ohio State Buckeyes will be playing in post-season all-star games later this month with the confirmation from the organization tonight that cornerback Travis Howard and defensive end/outside linebacker Nathan Williams have accepted invitations to play in the 88th East-West Shrine Game. The game will be held Jan. 19 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., kicking off at 4 p.m. (EST) with live television coverage on the NFL Network.
Defensive end John Simon and offensive tackle Reid Fragel had previously been named to the roster of the 2013 Senior Bowl. The game will be played Jan. 26 in Mobile, Ala., at Ladd-Peebles Stadium with kickoff set for 4 p.m. The game will be also be televised on the NFL Network.
Simon, from Youngstown, Ohio, started 37 consecutive games for the Buckeyes at one point in his career (and played in 50) and was named the defensive player and the defensive lineman of the year in the Big Ten this season after recording 14.5 tackles-for-loss, including 9.0 sacks. He finished with the seventh-most TFLs (43.0) and quarterback sacks (20.5) in school history.
Fragel started all 12 games this season in his first year playing offensive tackle after three seasons as a tight end. The Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich., native played in 51 career games and made 21 starts, including nine at tight end. He gained 30 pounds - from 280 to 310 - and developed into a fine right tackle for the Buckeyes this season.
Howard, from Miami, Fla, was one of the top defensive backs in the Big Ten this season, earning first-team all-conference accolades after leading the league with four interceptions (.33 per game) and totaling 10 passes defensed. He finished his career with eight interceptions and 13 pass break-ups in 43 games played. He started 21 times.
Williams overcame a serious knee injury, and subsequent surgery that sideline him for virtually the entire 2011 season, to play in 10 games and start seven times in 2012. He had 40 tackles this season. A veteran of 45 games and 19 starts, the Washington Court House native had 25.0 tackles-for-loss and 12.0 quarterback sacks for his career.
No. 3 in Final AP Poll
Ohio State, the only major college football program to go unbeaten in 2012, finishes the year with a No. 3 ranking in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll of the season. Coach Urban Meyer's first Buckeye team thus earns the 22nd Top 5 final ranking in school history in the AP poll and the 33rd Top 10 ranking by the AP in school history.
Only 11 Ohio State teams have finished higher in the AP poll than the 2012 Buckeye team, which won every game on the way to a 12-0 record and captured the championship of the Big Ten Conference Leaders Division.
Highest Ranked Ohio State Teams
Final Associated Press Poll
2002 - No. 1 (14-0 national champion; Coach Jim Tressel)
1968 - No. 1 (10-0 national champion; Coach Woody Hayes)
1954 - No. 1 (10-0 national champion; Coach Woody Hayes)
1942 - No. 1 (9-1 national champion; Coach Paul Brown)
2006 - No. 2 (12-1; Coach Jim Tressel)
1998 - No. 2 (11-1; Coach John Cooper)
1996 - No. 2 (11-1; Coach John Cooper)
1973 - No. 2 (10-0-1; coach Woody Hayes)
1961 - No. 2 (8-0-1; FWAA national champion; Coach Woody Hayes)
1957 - No. 2 (9-0; UPI and FWAA national champion; Coach Woody Hayes)
1944 - No. 2 (9-0; Coach Carroll Widdoes)
2012 - No. 3 (12-0; Coach Urban Meyer)
Meyer a Fourth Coach of the Year Finalist
Coach Urban Meyer is a finalist for a fourth 2012 Coach of the Year. Earlier this week the Over the Mountain Touchdown Club, located in Birmingham, Ala., named him one of its five finalists for the four-year-old Bobby Bowden National Collegiate Coach of The Year Award.
The winner of this award, from a contingent featuring Meyer, Brian Kelly from Notre Dame, Alabama's Nick Saban, Kansas State's Bill Snyder and Kevin Sumlin from Texas A&M, will be announced at a banquet in Birmingham March 3. Members of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association began casting their votes on Tuesday of this week.
Meyer has previously been named a national Coach of the Year for the FWAA's Eddie Robinson, the Liberty Mutual and the Bear Bryant awards.